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July 16, 2013

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Food containers, utensils fail tests for heavy metal

SOME food containers and utensils sold in Shanghai, including at branches of Carrefour, Century Mart and RT-Mart, failed quality checks for excess levels of a heavy metal, the market watchdog said yesterday.

Six batches of items out of 97 checked recently by the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau were found substandard.

Four failed for excess chromium, a heavy metal that has potential health risks. They were stainless steel cups made by Meipai Stainless Steel Product Co in Guangdong Province and sold at the Nanqiao outlet of Century Mart, slotted spoons and slotted pancake turners produced by Fackelmann China and sold at Carrefour's Gubei outlet, and bowls made by the Yuepeng Stainless Steel Product Co in Guangdong and sold at RT-Mart's Yangpu outlet.

The level of chromium in the slotted pancake turners was six times the national standard, the bureau said. Heavy metals such as chromium can leak out when utensils are in contact with food and can be harmful to health.

Excessive long-term intake of chromium can result in chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension as well as damage to the kidney, liver and can even lead to cancer.

In children, excessive exposure to chromium can damage the central nervous system.

The other two batches of problem products, rice washing baskets sold by Hualian GMS and drinking straws from Tesco, had color fastness problems. Intake of pigments can harm people's health, officials said.

All substandard products have been removed from sale.


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